Stephen King TV series, ranked from best to worst


If you do anything long enough, patterns will emerge, and as I sat down to review the Apple TV+ miniseries “Lisey’s Story,” the latest television work adapted from or inspired by Stephen King’s fiction, it struck me that I had been here before, or somewhere like it, not once but many times. “Lisey’s” makes the ninth King-related piece I’ve written since 2006 (the third just since the start of last year), which also means that I have read a lot of King — a lot more than I would have otherwise — because part of the deal as a critic, to my mind, is to know what the adaptation takes from the source, what it leaves out, and what it adds, both in content and tone.

That number accounts for only half the King-based series and miniseries and movies that have aired since I started here, and a smaller fraction of the complete works for the tube. He’s a TV perennial — the first King television adaptation, the Tobe Hooper-directed “Salem’s Lot,” appeared in 1979, a year before Stanley Kubrick’s film of “The Shining.” His name sells tickets, or would if TV sold tickets.

Here, for fans of reviews of King-related television shows, are those earlier pieces, along with the review of “Lisey’s Story,” in descending order of esteem. Some shows are better than the books, some not as good. Either way, I am ready to let some other critic have a crack at him when his next one comes around — that’d be “Chapelwaite,” based on the short story “Jerusalem’s Lot,” arriving in August via Epix, with Emily Hampshire from “Schitt’s Creek” starring. (Still, with Emily Hampshire … I might change my mind.)

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